Trucks and Wagons

Our model depicts the 1950/early 60s period. The railways of Britain were not at their best, run down after the war, lacking investment and direction. The future was not a priority, survival and repair certainly were and the question, should we stick with steam hauled trains or, like Europe, progress to electric powered trains, meant an intermediate solution was required, which would be diesel.

One thing was at its peak and that was the freight industry. To get the country back on its feet meant manufacturing had to be stepped up. Industry required power, products required parts and machinery and people required homes and jobs. Hornby Central can only accommodate four freight trains, the length of each train being dictated by the length of the sidings, which is fifteen trucks. So our freight trains have to be representations of the real thing. Nevertheless, we think they look superb.

We chose four types of train, which we regarded as typical of the time, coal, oil, construction and mixed. Mixed gives us the opportunity to include all other types - cattle, fish, produce for example.

This combination provides the opportunity to run heavy mainline trains requiring the strongest of locomotive power, such as the 9F and the WD 2-8-0, down through the power classes of the old Midland Fowler 7F, 4F and 3F and even the 1F on the local village delivery service.

So within the limits of 16ft x 6ft we have the capacity to run just about anything. Our choice of which and whose trucks to use was dictated by date. We were Hornby Dublo fans, so it will come as no surprise that 1960s Hornby Dublo trucks are the mainstay of our railway. As time has progressed, so has our selection, but one thing had to remain permanent and that is the couplings, basic 1950s Hornby Dublo type which are still available from Peco.

The oil train is all 50s Hornby Dublo stock, heavy metal castings on a solid chassis. The wheels were bulbous and noisy, but we subsequently fitted Jackson wheels to create smooth trouble-free running. Watching the train go past, it isn’t always obvious that these trucks are forty years old. They are still cheaper than their modern counterparts so a bit of searching would make sense.

The coal train is our favourite, a mix of solid Hornby Dublo and Bachmann stock, with two Peco-sprung late additions. They seem to sing as they go around the track. We just wish we could run a forty-truck train but sadly, fifteen is the max.

The third freight train is formed from bolster wagons, again Hornby Dublo originals, heavy and cumbersome. This explains why we run them empty to keep the weight to a minimum. These are still available on ebay: just keep looking.

Finally, our last train, the mixed goods, is sometimes fifteen trucks long, sometimes only three. This gives us the pleasure of shunting. We have a guard’s van on both ends of all our freight trains, which means they can arrive and depart with the minimum of manoeuvring. The guards don’t mind which way they go, they wave at us from either end!

Even today an ideal Christmas present is the five-truck crane. Well this was our Christmas present in 1966. Now painted black, rather than its original red, it blends in with the dirt and grime and can still be seen on the main track, being hauled by Fowler 7F, rushing to clear the track or pick up a derailment. The crew will be relaxing in the 1920 converted saloon or working, sometimes in terrible weather conditions.

We hope you have enjoyed playing trains with us and that we may have inspired you to even greater modelling projects.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Sorry, there are no upcoming exhibitions. If you’d like us to attend an exhibition you’re organising, please contact us.

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Laying the Track

Coaching Stock

Use of People


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How we make the trains run

Remaking History

The Making of Princess Anne

The Making of the Layout

The Making of our Steam Specials